gwendolyn faith is not a crayon.

Hello, I’m Gwen.

I work in advertising. I play in the kitchen.

I’m part tweenager. (Look at my iTunes playlist.)

I’m part Grandma. (Look at my oversize cardi collection.)

I’m part Romy or Michelle. (Look at the height of my hair.)

As a Christian, I'm learning how to glorify God in the everyday. To live into the status quo, like Jesus' own Manchurian candidate, and seep grace through its cracks.

I wish my life were a musical, but other than that, I’m pretty content.

(No surprise I also like to Yelp.)

The Casual Vacancy
The Explicit Gospel
Gone Girl
The Chaperone
Cutting for Stone

Gwen Daniels's favorite books »



"Do not disbelieve, but believe." John 20:27

thankful that i serve a God in the business of beating death.

oh death, where is your victory? oh death, where is your sting?

(via bigfunnywords)


New Trailer: ‘Orange Is the New Black' Season 2 - June 6

Trailers for Orange is the New Black and Gone Girl in one week?! I’m so excited about this year’s entertainment options, y’all.

I’m looking forward to a movie that’s deliciously, devilishly, good.


Trailer: ‘Gone Girl' - Oct. 3

Have y’all hard about Amazon Smile?! Apparently I’ve been in the dark for the past few months, but from now on, I’ll be making my purchases in support of one of my favorite charities. (You can pick from countless organizations beyond the few featured on the Amazon Smile homepage.)




When you log into Amazon do it via the address.  They’ll prompt you once to setup you a charity of choice and they donate a small (0.5%) percentage to the charity of your purchase. Not a HUGE percentage but everything counts.  All prices are the same you just have to remember to go to



”[Donna] Tartt’s prose has the unfakeable depth and luster of long gestation, reward for the decade-long waits between her books.” – Janice Clark

Strangely bored by the Secret History, Donna Tartt’s prolific first, I resisted the Goldfinch for months; I’d heard horror stories about a detour to Vegas, hundreds of pages long.

But for the past two weeks, I’ve been reading the Goldfinch in greedy gulps, downing chapter after chapter whenever I could steal a moment on the El or in a waiting room or before bed through half-closed lids.

Somehow, though, I lost interest as the Goldfinch reached its peak—a peak drawn with international intrigue and mystery and, oh, drugged haze. Is excitement not my cup of tea?!

You see, we’ve come to define ‘social’ in unintentional Orwellian double-speak. ‘Social’ has come to mean the exact opposite of what it’s meant for centuries. Instead of actual interaction and communication, we define ‘social’ as once- or twice-removed ego validation through button-clicking.

'Social' is what happens when someone posts personal information—photos, thoughts, announcements, favorite songs, jokes—on the internet and another person comes along and clicks a thumbs up icon or a star or a heart. If someone’s really 'social,' they’ll even type a comment or reply.

Kids aren’t leaving social networks. They’re redefining the word ‘social.’ Rather, they’re actually using the word with the intent of its original meaning: making contact with other human beings. Communicating. Back-and-forth, fairly immediate dialogue. Most of it digitally. But most of it with the intent of a conversation where two (or more) people are exchanging information and emotion. Not posting it. Exchanging it.

Bailey Lauerman’s Cliff Watson on the evolution of social media—which, following teens’ lead, we increasingly define not as static, interface-based URLs and apps but as straightforward messaging services. Insightful (and funny!) food for thought for anyone who works in the marketing realm!

(via wearethedigitalkids)

Another shameless plug to ask for your support before Thursday’s fundraiser! Thanks again for your consideration, all.


In a few weeks, I’ll be participating in Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago’s annual bowling fundraiser, Bowl for Kids’ Sake, and I’m taking to social media to raise support! Will you please consider contributing to the cause?

I’ve been involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters at a Boys & Girls Club in Uptown practically since I moved to Chicago. Through their mentoring programs, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes measurable progress to help all children reach their potential—regardless of the hand they’ve been dealt. For example, 94% of Littles enrolled in Chicago’s community-based program maintained or improved their attitudes toward risky behaviors; in another survey, 67% of former Littles agreed their Big played a role in their decision to attend college.

Thanks for your support, friends!


NW, by Zadie Smith

More often than not I finish a book without the urge to talk about it. Not NW, the latest from Zadie Smith.

I read White Teeth, Zadie Smith’s lauded first novel, over a winter break from college, when I disappeared into my room Christmas morning instead of celebrating with my family, greedy for chapter after chapter after chapter until I reached the end.

Like the true literati (riiight), I eagerly awaited Smith’s next novels, ready to lose myself in another of her vivid stories. I was interested enough in the short blurb to describe NW: Four Northwest Londoners—Leah, Felix, Natalie and Nathan—try to make adult lives outside of Caldwell, the council estate of their childhood. Unfortunately, NW transported me not to Northwest London but to AP English class, where I couldn’t read a book without self-consciously analyzing each page.

Indeed, Smith masterfully manipulates the form of her novel to reveal more about each of her characters. In the first section, Smith introduces us to Leah, who lives with her hairdresser husband not too far from the housing project of her youth. Facing pressure from family and friends to finally have a child of her own, she struggles to maintain control over her body and her life; like the pressure from the outside, her narrative threatens to engulf her, as long paragraphs free from quotations confuse her own thoughts with others’.

In the short middle section devoted to Felix, a man with a checkered past who’s now determined to do better for himself, Smith assumes a more conventional structure, but small aberrations in form remind the reader he hasn’t quite found his place among the upwardly mobile

In the final section, which follows Leah’s friend Natalie’s ascent out of Caldwell to the upper-middle-class, Smith writes 185 short numbered chapters, sequential but splintered, some only a few fragmented lines, that emphasize Natalie’s incoherent conception of self. Throughout the section, Smith uses the Natalie’s first and last name, further conveying the character’s own sense of detachment. 

But while I admire Smith’s capabilities as an artist of the written word, I didn’t grow to care about—or even care for—the characters themselves. I wasn’t absorbed in the story itself. And after I finished, I wasn’t anxious to tell my friends to read the book. No, I was anxious to write a book report of sorts, just like I did in AP English.

(If I were actually an AP English student, I’d probably detail why the literary devices didn’t forge a bond between me and the characters, or something, but I’m a, um, young professional who’s running out of steam.)

Chicago officially experienced its coldest for months ever on record, y’all. According to the National Weather Service, the average temperature for December 2013 to March 2014 period in  Chicago was only 22.0°F, 10 degrees below freezing, beating the old record set in the winter of 1903-04.

h/t Ali